The yester-year era of solid pseudo-walls built around companies, big and small, where their inner workings were shielded from the very clients they catered to has come and gone. The last few years have brought about a quantum shift in corporate thinking and new online outreach and networking tools have materialized in a way that could not have been foreseen.
I walk from the metro to the office every day and witness a distinct majority of others pounding the sidewalks as they text, call and email their way into their work week before ever setting foot into their office via smartphones, laptops and PDA’s. Online networking and communications are no longer corporate lingo, but rather a way of life and is growing exponentially every day.
Do you remember the vinegar and egg experiment from grade school? Put an egg in a glass, submerge it in vinegar, and presto! In a couple of days you have a see-through egg! Without affecting the innate structure of the egg, the vinegar transforms the hard shell into a transparent form in which the “inner workings” can be seen.
As Academic Travel Abroad’s Creative Manager, I have been fortunate enough to have been given the task of pouring vinegar over ATA’s metaphorical shell. As a company that prides itself on it’s luxury and educational travel experience and commitment to excellence in customer service and satisfaction, we have come to a fairly simple realization. In order to reach out to others who share our distinct passion for travel and a desire to learn about unique cultures around the world we need to become more “transparent” and reveal our “inner workings”. We want to humanize our company in a way that helps others realize we really are a passionate group of travelers and not a “corporate” hard-shelled business.
By using online social networking tools such as this blog, our Facebook page, a Twitter feed, our presence on Gather.com and LinkedIn.com we hope to develop a community of travelers who like sharing their experiences abroad with both our staff and others. Frankly, if you were to visit all these tools we have, you would see ATA as a “transparent eggshell”. Our staff often write blogs about their recent travels abroad, our President writes her own blog and we encourage Facebook visitors to post their own comments and photos of their travels to share with our community. We love interacting with other travelers and sharing ideas, experiences and resources. Think of it… you could tell your friends and colleagues that you Twitter, blog, Facebook and more – talk about moving up the tech-savvy ladder! You’ll be the envy of your peers.
So if you’re a world traveler and, out of sheer unbridled enthusiasm, simply can’t stop sharing your experiences abroad with others, we hope to see you “pour your own vinegar” and join in.